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Kenya: February 19 - February 28, 2023

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to visit Kenya, and wow... what a memorable trip! I had arranged to meet a colleague, of whom I had met only once prior to arranging this trip, so that in itself can be a nerve wracking experience as I am committing to stay with someone who is basically a stranger... half-way across the world! I was up for the unknown and booked a flight!

Day 1 & 2: February 19 - 20

My flights to get to Nairobi consisted of one leg from Calgary to Amsterdam, and then another to Nairobi. I was met at the airport by my hosted tour operator and transported to my hotel, the Tamarind Tree, for the night. Food was great and the atmosphere was young and vibrant, despite all ages being very present and enjoying themselves.

Day 3 February 21

My colleague did not arrive in Nairobi and here was where my mind started to wander. The tour operator and I agreed to keep to our original itinerary as we cannot help the situation.

Our day was scheduled as follows:

• David sheldrick Elephant orphanage: the centre keeps the wild Elephants rescued from different parks in Kenya, orphaned as result of the poaching or natural deaths of the parents

• Giraffe centre: This is centre where the endangered giraffes are kept , I experienced feeding the giraffes and it was incredible!

• Karen Blixen Museum : located 10 km outside of Nairobi at the foot of the Ngong Hills. This is the former home of Danish author Karen Blixen, famous for her 1937 book Out of Africa.

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After our tours, we performed some impromptu site inspections at Hermosa Garden Resort and Spa as well as Hemmingways. They were such incredible hotels, my preference being for the Hemmingways!!!

I then transferred to a new hotel for the night, the Sarova Panafric in Nairobi.

Day 4: Nairobi to Maasai Mara - February 22

Today I met my colleague as her flights were delayed until last night. It was nice seeing her again and I have to admit I felt more comfortable traveling with someone in a foreign country.

We headed out for the 6 hour drive to the Maasai Mara. We drove by the Great Valley Rift which was spectacular to see!

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From here, we continued on until we arrived at our resort: Mara lyok luxury camp. AMAZING!!! I loved the property, however the pool was obviously not used in a LONG time! It didn't matter, we didn't have much time for that! The resort boasts 16 luxury tents, from which you need an armed guard to walk to and from after dusk and before dawn. All plumbing worked well and the rooms were well appointed. I have to admit, waking up to giraffes and elephants a mere stone's throw away from my verandah while having an incredible breakfast was pretty breathtaking.

Mara Lyok Luxury Camp:

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We didn't have long to stay at the resort as we had plans for our first Safari. It ended up raining for about 5 minutes and it was INCREDIBLE! The colors in the sky as we headed back to camp after one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. I was thankful to be here, in the company of so much wild beauty. We enjoyed a great meal with entertainment from the Maasai people.

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Day 5: Maasai Mara - February 23

We enjoyed two safaris today, one early morning and one in the evening. The cats sleep during the day as they start hunting around dusk and end at dawn. All other big game live relatively harmoniously with each other. It's just those cats that cause the disturbances!

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We transferred to a new resort Sarova Mara Camp so we could experience more resorts in the area. This was a lovely camp, great for families as it had a wonderful (clean) pool great to cool off in.

I LOVED this resort very much. With an extensive on property garden, their farm to table program is increible. Fresh fruit, herbs, and vegetables grown steps away from where they are prepared - delicious!! Food and service were excellent and I would highly recommend it to any clients, especially families.

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In the evening we had another safari, and enoyed increible view points, complete with wine and laughter. This will remain one of my favorite evenings in Kenya. We were becoming more comfortable with each other, the bouts of absolute laughter and joy enjoyed among new friends will always remain dear to my heart.

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Day 6 Maasai Mara - February 24

We got up early for a champagne breakfast and surprise guest. There were a breeding pair of lions being protected from the public by armed officials. We pulled some strings and were allowed nearby for 5 minutes. What a special moment, although it felt a bit as though we were intruding!

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We were then off to Lake Nakuru, a 6 hour drive away. Honestly, it was a LOT of driving. It was great to see the countryside but the driving was exhausting.

Day 7 - Lake Nakuru National Park - February 25

Ahhhh, this is where we saw the last of the big 5 - the elusive Rhino!!! We saw an entire family so it was very amazing and we were relieved we had the change to see all of the big game, as well as the three large cats. Lake Nakuru is famous for its pink flamingos, which we did see. The landscape is so very different from one region of Kenya to the next.

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Checking into our resort at the Sarova Lion Game Hill Lodge, perched on a hill above Lake Nakuru. The views were stunning. the property itself was wonderful, however the rooms were small (very small!) and did not come with a ceiling fan at all. It was so uncomfortable at night without some sort of air circulating and we had a difficult time falling asleep. The cool air came in the middle of the night, so we opened our windows which helped a lot!

LEFT OFF add Sarova pics

Check in to the Sarova Lion Hill Game Lodge:

Day 8 - Leave for Amboseli National Park - February 26

It was time to leave the mighty Maasai Mara but first we made a stop at a local school to see the children. This was a wonderful experience!

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After another 6 hour drive, we arrive at Amboseli... this is what I envisioned Africa to be! Dry land unable to grow anything, dust storms, skeletons on the crusty earth, it is like nothing I have seen before. We raced to make it to a Maasai village for a meal and then checked into our new home, The Serena Lodge, for the next two nights. We were a little tired of moving from one resort to another so this was perfect getting to stay put for two nights!

Day 9 - Amboseli Park - February 27

We had a wonderful morning safari and watched the sun rose over the almighty Mount Kilmanjaro. What a breathtaking adventure! We then had breakfast on top of a hill and took in the amazing views of the mountain.